3/2 Wetsuit

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A 3/2 wetsuit, this one is from O’Neil

The 3/2 full wetsuit is the thinnest of the full suits available for surfers. There are some spring wetsuits which are about 2 mm thick, but those are used primarily in warmer waters. A 3/2 will cover your whole body except your hands, feet and head, and has 3 millimeters of neoprene in some areas and 2 millimeters in others. The thicker areas are where you don’t have much movement like your legs and body area, and the thinner parts are around your shoulders and other areas where flexibility is important.

Checking the thickness of a suit when shopping is fairly simple. You can usually find the size written right on the sleeve of the wetsuit right near the wrist or just a little below the shoulder.

The 3/2 wetsuit is designed for cooler water temperatures, and if you combine it with boots you can use it in areas with water temperatures as low as 57F. Of course, that is just a general temperature. In many cases when the air is colder or there is a lot of wind you actually want a thicker suit for that same temperature.

A wetsuit that is 3/2 thick is not really considered a winter wetsuit, but if you want a good 3/2 you are looking for the same features as in a thicker winter model. So what is important? Check for the following things:

  • Blind Stitches – a blind stitched wetsuit is sewn together using blind stitching which is a technique where the needle never punctures all the way through the material. This helps ensure it is more waterproof than traditional stitching.
  • Sealed Seams – Sealing all the seams with liquid tape or another similar product is also important. It will help ensure the suit is 100% waterproof.
  • Additional Insulation – Having thermal lining on the inside of the suit will help keep you warm.
  • Zipper – A special zipper with teeth special designed to keep water out.

If you want to learn more about which wetsuit goes with which water temperature and what are the factors that influence the feeling of cold check this article.

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